By Marshall Bwanya
Chitungwiza Acting Town Clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu has revealed that there are 41 thousand households in the dormitory town that are not on the local authority’s database.
Kasu said this situation has been caused by the phenomenon of mushrooming illegal settlements.
“There are an additional 41 thousand households that are not in the Municipal property data base that are not contributing to Council’s revenue base but these are all people that still rely on Council to provide them services.
“This situation has arisen because in Chitungwiza there has been a phenomenon of the mushrooming of illegal settlements.
“Land barons have been illegally parcelling out land that does not belong to them to desperate home seekers, and once these people are illegally settled, they require services from Council, even though they are not contributing to Council’s revenue base,” he said.
Free Council Services
Kasu lamented how illegal settlements are contributing to the deterioration of the local authority’s service delivery by accessing services they are not paying for.
“Informal settlers produce solid waste which accumulates in the form of illegal dumps, and the Municipality has an obligation to collect garbage from these illegal settlements that are not paying for refuse collection to prevent outbreaks of diseases that will potentially spread to other areas where residents are paying for the services.
“Pregnant mothers and sick babies from these illegally created households come to our municipal clinics expecting and receive health services yet these illegally created households are not contributing to the municipal rates and property taxes that are supposed to fund these health services.
“There are also households from these illegal settlements that are illegally connecting themselves to the municipal water system and are therefore receiving treated water for free.
“Areas with illegal water connections to municipal water are: units N, O, P, M and L extensions; these have mixed council and unregularized properties; and also including some properties at PaGomba in Zengeza 4.
“This illegal practice is worsening the non-revenue water situation of the council in a manner that is unsustainable,” he said.
Regularisation is the Remedy
Acting Town Clerk Kasu said the way forward to remedy the deteriorating situation is to carry out a regularisation programme guided by the Chitungwiza town plan to realise sustainable revenue for adequate service delivery.
“The way forward is that a robust and comprehensive regularisation programme is needed, so that the large numbers of people that are outside the system can be brought into the system.
“Then they start contributing to Council’s revenue base, to capacitate and enable the Municipality to provide them with the needed services.
“This will also require the assistance and intervention of the central government, since there are limitations and constraints in the available local material and technical resources, with respect to conducting a regularisation programme of the scope and size that is currently needed.